Contempt: IGP claims ignorance as court orders imprisonment
November 30, 2022
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday sentenced the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to three-month imprisonment for flouting a 2011 court order.
The IG’s committal followed a suit filed by a police officer, Mr Patrick Okoli, who was unlawfully and compulsorily retired from the Nigeria Police Force.
The court also ordered the payment of N10m to the applicant as special and general damages for the unconstitutional denial of his rights and privileges as a senior officer of the Nigeria Police Force from 1993 until date.
The PUNCH reports that the court, in a ruling delivered by Justice M. O. Olajuwon, held that the police chief should be committed to prison and detained in custody for three months or until his office obeys an order made by the court since October 21, 2011.
Olajuwon noted that though the Police Service Commission recommended Okoli’s reinstatement into the NPF, a decision that was affirmed by the court, the IG’s office refused to comply with the order.
He said, “If at the end of the three months, the contemnor remains recalcitrant and still refuses to purge his contempt, he shall be committed for another period until he purges his contempt.”
The Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, in a statement, said the IG was not aware of the case.
He said, “It is instructive to note that the case in point concerns an officer who was dismissed as far back as 1992, a few years after the current IGP joined the Nigeria Police Force, based on available facts gleaned from reports. The most recent judgement on the matter was given in 2011, which should ordinarily not fall under the direct purview of the current administration of the Force. Thus, the news is strange and astonishing.
“The IGP has, however, directed the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Force Legal Unit to investigate the allegation in a bid to ascertain the position of the court and proffer informed legal advice for the IGP’s prompt and necessary action.”